Seven-Run Second Paces Brevard Past Tampa
VIERA, Fla. - An explosive second inning was all the Brevard County Manatees needed to beat the Tampa Yankees on Sunday evening at Space Coast Stadium, as they scored seven runs in the frame, en route to a 7-5 victory.
Brevard's big inning started with a bang from Mike Garza. He ripped a line drive to right field that just evaded the diving glove of Yankees' center fielder Jake Cave and rolled to the wall for a triple. Yadiel Rivera quickly drove him home with a single for the first run of the game.
The inning kept going after Brandon Macias was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. Parker Berberet then delivered his first hit of what would end up being a 4-for-4 day, with an RBI double that scored Rivera. Jose Sermo then made the score 3-0 with a sacrifice fly.
Nathan Orf then got in on the action, as his RBI single scored Berberet to extend the Manatees lead. Orlando Arcia then singled to put runners on second and third before Tyrone Taylor hit a sacrifice fly to give the 'Tees a 5-0 advantage.
Alfredo Rodriguez was the ninth man to come to the dish for Brevard County (25-24) in the second inning and he did not disappoint. He singled to right field and Arcia raced to third base. Tampa right fielder Jose Toussen threw toward third, but his throw skipped past third baseman Dante Bichette, Jr. and out of play. Arcia scored on the error and Rodriguez moved to third.
The man who started the rally then plated the final run of the inning, as Garza dribbled a ball toward shortstop that Cito Culver gloved on the backhand side. Culver attempted a jump throw to first, but it pulled first baseman Greg Bird off the bag. Rodriguez scored from third on the infield single and the Manatees took a 7-0 lead.
Brevard County's offensive onslaught in the second came on the strength of seven hits, two of them for extra bases and one Yankees' error. Brevard also added a pair of sacrifice flies.
The Yankees scored their first run of the ballgame in the fourth inning on their fifth home run of the series, as Bichette hit his sixth long ball of the year and second of the series. The solo shot to right against Brevard starter Jed Bradley (5-2, 2.98 ERA) made it a 7-1 game.
Tampa (26-24) snuck across another run in the fifth. After Claudio Custodio hit a one-out single, he stole second and moved to third on a fly ball to right field. That brought up Bird, who singled home Custodio with Tampa's second run.
The seventh inning was where the Yankees began to mount a comeback. Custodio delivered another one-out single and Cave followed with a single of his own. With runners on first and second, Culver singled home Custodio, as Brevard's lead was now cut to 7-3.
Chad Pierce came out of the bullpen to relieve Bradley at that point with runners on the corners and one out. Pierce walked Bird and Bichette singled to left to score Cave. Culver was content to stop at third on the play, but the ball rolled under the glove of Sermo in left field and Culver came in to score on the error.
Pierce would work out of the jam as he struck out Zach Wilson and got Toussen to fly out to right field to end the inning. The reliever also pitched a perfect eighth and came back out for the ninth to attempt his first save of the season.
Though he worked into a dangerous situation in the ninth, Pierce was able to dodge trouble and earn the save. Cave singled to lead things off and Bird hit a one-out single to put runners on the corners.
The tying run was on base and the go-ahead run was at the plate, but Pierce struck out Bichette and induced a fly out to foul territory in right off the bat of Zach Wilson to end the game. The save was Pierce's third of his professional career.
Bradley earned the victory, as he allowed five runs - four earned -on nine hits and one walk. The left-hander also struck out six men, including five in the first three innings.
All of the Manatees' runs came against Tampa starting pitcher Rafael De Paula (1-2, 4.04). He exited after the second inning and took the loss.
Brevard County will enjoy an off-day on Memorial Day before returning to action on Tuesday night at 6:35 p.m. at Space Coast Stadium. The 'Tees will host the St. Lucie Mets (30-20) for a pair on Tuesday and Wednesday before heading to Port St. Lucie for two games on Thursday and Friday.
Jorge Lopez (5-2, 3.72) will get the start for Brevard County against St. Lucie's Michael Fulmer (2-3, 4.83).
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